Saturday, January 30, 2010


Nate_First5_vertYou're five dude. You've been five for almost an entire month now. I can't even handle it. Sometimes you look so grown, like I can see a glimpse of you at 15, at 25, at 45. There's a wiseness in your eyes, but also the burden of being too wise at too young an age. You see things that most your age don't; they weigh heavy on you as you try to work them out and understand why such things happen, such people exist.

For the most part, you are happy. You just want to play all the time and I'm cool with that. You can sit with a box of Legos for an hour and quietly invent worlds and characters and elaborate stories. You are influenced by everything around you. A tree skirt becomes a magician's cape. A random item from the recycling bin suddenly holds great value to you as you give it life with your mind. You know how to scavenge for ideas and get something from nothing; how to make trash into treasure. You remind me of me.

You are a phenomenal story teller. You lie awake at night, telling me stories of how your imaginary friend Demmick's mom died in childbirth. When you make the stories too awful for me to stomach, you change the ending to suit my palate. "Don't worry Mom. I'm not upset by this story, because I know she comes back to life at the end."

I wish life were like that; full of do-overs and reset buttons and mothers that come back to life. I try to shelter you from reality and bad endings too, but then I realize you're smarter than me and can sense what I'm up to. Your mind is pre-occupied with darkness, more so than my own. I wonder if you'll write horror novels or gothic Edgar Allan Poe-inspired plays. You are theatrical, in your interests, in your movements and in your inability to process your emotions.

I worry about you. A lot. I worry uselessly about whether you will suffer from depression (you get pretty devastatingly upset about stuff little dude) or whether you'll ever be able to draw anything that's not a tornado. (You draw a LOT of tornadoes.) I weigh out what is from the stroke (your inability to draw anything but tornadoes) and what is from me (your inability to handle transitions, your dawdling, your lack of focus, your hyper-sensitivity). I have to get it in check, I know, because this is what will separate us in the future -- my need to worry.

You are funny. You LOVE Yellow Submarine by the Beatles and "Hey Bulldog" is your favourite song, but you're familiarizing yourself with our vinyl collection (newly up from the basement) and learning what you like. One day it might be Simon & Garfunkel, the next you're rocking out to live Pat Benetar with me. You love "breakdancing," or "cool tricks" as you call it. (Thanks, Yo Gabba Gabba!) You love rocking out and flippin' around our newly exposed hardwood floor. You feel music in your soul and it makes me smile.

You make faces and sarcastic jokes. You get me. You get my humour. You copy me. You give your dad crap for just about everything. "How can you go out without gloves Dad? You're gonna get frostbite! Are you crazy? What am I going to do with you?"

We call you Gramps, even though it makes you mad. You're an old man in a 5-year-old's body, but not in a freaky Benjamin Button way. It's still sad at times though, because I just want you to be a kid. But you're too much of a sponge for that. You lost your innocence on Day One when your brain got reprogrammed and it's been sucking up everything it sees and hears and feels since then.

But you're still a kid and you don't quite understand things in a way that someone who has experienced them would. So they weigh on you, weigh on you heavily. So we use humour and music and books and stories and love to keep you busy, keep your mind off the heavy, take the weight on our on shoulders for a bit.

You are a person of extremes. When you feel joy, it leaps off your face, out your pores, rocks your very being. It radiates and encapsulates all who fall within its glow. When you laugh, the house shakes and your smile shatters windows and hearts. I want to freeze you like that, keep you in that moment, before the darkness comes and furrows your brow or makes your lip quiver.

You LOVE. Your heart is immense. I cannot put into words how much I love watching you and your sister together these days. The way you greet each other, the way you treat each other -- always with respect and kindness. Oh sure, you fight over stuff sometimes, but you're working it out, learning your boundaries. But your love for each other is not forced, not created by my constant urgings. It is genuine and heartfelt and I know you will look after each other long after I'm gone.

Your relationship with your dad is rooted in play. You love reading comics together, playing Legos and imagination games together. But you don't understand him, so you worry about him, yet you feel safe in his presence. Like me. I get that.

You and I are more closely bonded than I could have imagined. I am forever your favourite. You would choose me over any one and any thing, and I'm not going to pretend that doesn't go to my head. Your love is precious to me. I need it. I love how I feel when you look at me with those chocolate eyes and smile that is only for me. You know the one. "Stay Mama," you whisper in the dark. The laundry and dishes and work and my husband are all seeking my attention, but I linger, lying next to you in the dark until you cross into dreamland.

I heart you Nathaniel. Whole heart you.

In case you missed it, I also blogged about Nate's birthday in a different feel here: 6 Lessons I've Learned in Motherhood

PS: Time for a bloggy facelift. I've been writing so infrequently as I try to figure out if I'm throwing MFM out and starting from scratch or just needing new paint for inspiration... stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

OMG, I am hearting you and this post. Everytime I read one of these tribute posts to your children, I always kick myself for not writing one to my son for retro lookbacks in the future. Happy Birthday Nate (belated). Happy Mother's Day Nadine! Mother's Day for me is always on his birthday....speaking of which I am preggers with no. 2. Please no FB wall posts yet, not everybody knows yet. Sometimes I wonder if my heart will be able to stretch and grow bigger than it already is to take in a second little one that makes it ache so sweetly, but then I always think of the Dr. Seuss's Grinch's heart and how it grew, hehe. I'm rambling on, but lovely post.


kgirl said...

Thanks for making me bawl at work.

Man oh man, please let me see my children for who they are the way you do yours. Five is around the corner for us, and it's freaking me right out.

wherewiller said...

Awesome. Happy birthday Nate.

Janice said...

This is perfect, Nadine.

If you think it makes your heart glow to write this all out imagine how Nate will feel when he reads this someday. Special for him from the mother he loves so much.


petite gourmand said...

I can't believe he's FIVE already!
time flies..
happy belated b-day Nate

oh and great tips for start up blogs- I will forward to a friend who is thinking of starting one.

salberto said...